Mood and retrieval-induced forgetting of positive and negative autobiographical memories

Celia B. Harris*, Stefanie J. Sharman, Amanda J. Barnier, Michelle L. Moulds

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In two experiments, we examined the effects of high and low levels of dysphoria on retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) of positive and negative autobiographical memories. In Experiment 1, participants took part in an RIF procedure that was adapted for autobiographical memories. Regardless of level of dysphoria, participants showed facilitation for both negative and positive memories; they only showed RIF for negative memories. Differences in baseline memories were responsible for this effect: Participants recalled more positive than negative baseline memories. Experiment 2 was conducted to address these baseline differences, and also focused only on participants with high levels of dysphoria. Again, high dysphoric participants showed facilitation for both positive and negative memories; they only showed RIF for negative memories. Recall also varied depending on the content of practiced memories and individual differences in anxiety. Overall, these results suggest that retrieval- practice might have different outcomes for different kinds of autobiographical memories, that these outcomes may depend on individual memory biases and memory valence, and that practicing positive memories may assist mood repair.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)399-413
    Number of pages15
    JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
    Volume24
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

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